Happy Sunday, Mane Landers! Rub those eyes, pour some coffee, and pull up to a heaping helping of Lion Links.
Report: Lions Linked to Uruguayan Winger Facundo Torres
Reports out of South America have linked Orlando City with a move for 21-year-old Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres of Peñarol. The young attacking player would fit the MLS Under-22 Initiative perfectly, as a developing player. If signed to that type of contract, it would take up one of Orlando City’s Designated Player slots. Torres has 10 appearances with the Uruguayan national team since getting his first cap in 2021, but has yet to score for La Celeste at the senior level. He has 10 goals in 49 games with Peñarol over the last two seasons — five each in 2020 and 2021. The Lions could use a dynamic winger after opting not to pick up the option on Nani’s contract and losing Chris Mueller to Scottish side Hibernian. The release fee per the linked story is a hefty one, at $20 million, although the story indicates Peñarol may be open to taking less — in the neighborhood of $14 million. Either way, it would represent a club record transfer for Orlando. We will continue to track this rumor, but it’s worth noting that Torres has also been linked with a possible move to LAFC, Brazil, and Europe.
Dike Not Invited to December USMNT Camp
Orlando City striker Daryl Dike was not called into the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 26-man December training camp by coach Gregg Berhalter in preparation for a Dec. 18 friendly in Los Angeles against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Athletic’s Sam Stesjkal reported ($) Berhalter left Dike out so he could rest after logging “nearly 3,300 minutes in 49 games in 2021, all while dealing with a series of different knocks.” According to Stesjkal, Berhalter told reporters on Friday:
“He’s had a long year. He’s beat up, he needs recovery and the most important thing at this time for Daryl is to get rest and recovery so that he can focus on coming back into January and building himself up again.”
Reported Pride Coaching Target Departs UCLA
The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf reported this week that the Orlando Pride intend to hire UCLA women’s soccer coach Amanda Cromwell as the club’s new head coach. UCLA announced on Friday that Cromwell is “departing for other opportunities.” The Pride have yet to publicly announce a hiring, the club’s postseason contract decisions, or any trades that might have been completed before Friday’s deadline, aside from sending Jodie Taylor to expansion side San Diego Wave FC.
She led us to our first NCAA Championship, to 4 @pac12— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) December 3, 2021
titles, including the last 2, and to 3 College Cups.
Thank you, @CromwellUCLA, for an amazing 9 seasons at UCLA. We wish her the best of luck as she moves on for other opportunities.
ℹ️ https://t.co/MGObkpOt4U pic.twitter.com/4tjyzwDyDJ
Portland Wins Western Conference Final; Philadelphia Loses 11 Players for Today’s Eastern Final
Real Salt Lake’s Cinderella story came to a close with a 2-0 loss at Portland Saturday night. Felipe More scored five minutes into the game to put the Timbers ahead 1-0 early. Santiago Moreno added a goal in the 61st minute on a shot off the post that hit the back of goalkeeper David Ochoa and bounced in to make it 2-0. Portland will host MLS Cup regardless of who wins the Eastern Conference final.
The Philadelphia Union will be at a serious disadvantage in today’s MLS Eastern Conference final (ABC, 3 p.m.) because 11 of its players are listed as “out” due to the league’s Health and Safety protocols. Team captain Alejandro Bedoya, goalkeeper Andre Blake, attacker Sergio Santos, and the Union’s entire starting back line from its last match are among the 11 players who will miss the game due to quarantine. While NYCFC also will not be at full strength as 2021 MLS Golden Boot award winner Taty Castellanos sits out after receiving a red card in NYCFC’s semifinal win over New England on Tuesday night, the Pigeons are obviously in a much better position than the Union.
- Former Lion Chris Mueller announced his arrival to Hibernian Friday on social media.
And his new club announced him to fans on Saturday.
- The NWSL released more draft and exansion draft details on Friday. The Pride currently have the fifth, 29th and 31st overall picks in the Dec. 18 draft. However, not all NWSL trade deadline deals have been announced yet and any swaps including draft picks aren’t yet reflected in this draft order.
- Robert Lewandoski fired home two goals in Bayern Munich’s 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga heavyweight clash known as Der Klassiker. Dortmund’s Erling Haaland also scored in his first match after a seven-game injury absence and now has 51 goals in 51 career Bundesliga games.
- Manchester City regained its spot at the top of the Premier League table yesterday with a 3-1 victory over Watford.
- Rangnickball begins in Manchester today (NBCSN, 9 a.m.).
- Revenge sums up this FourFourTwo preview of today’s pandemic-delayed Women’s FA Cup final between Sam Kerr’s Chelsea and Vivianne Miedema’s Arsenal (ESPN+, 9 a.m.).
- Pencil in these 2022 dates for USWNT match windows.
- An Instagrammer asks if this is the best goal-scoring celebration you’ve ever seen. Post your all-time fave in the comments.
- Mexican wrestling meets Mexican soccer in this kit release. What do you think? I don’t want one but I do want to re-watch Nacho Libre now.
Maybe our favourite kit release of the season… ♀️@CharlyFutbol x @luchalibreaaa, bringing the worlds of Mexican football and Mexican wrestling closer together. What more could you want? pic.twitter.com/IuNomnCcox— COPA90 (@Copa90) December 4, 2021
Keep your eyes peeled this week for confirmation (or not) of the report that the Pride are close to trading Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris to NJ/NY Gotham FC.
Have a great week, Mane Landers!